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Freshman defensive specialist/libero Caroline Douglas shared her high school volleyball experience with current Penn teammate Taylor Fourticq.

Credit: Gary Lin

A lot of big names come out of Marymount High School in Los Angeles. Kim Kardashian and Olivia Jade Giannulli are just two on a long and very well-known list. 

Flying slightly under the radar of the school’s more noteworthy alumni are the Marymount volleyball program's Taylor Fourticq and Caroline Douglas, both of whom are freshmen at Penn. 

The duo attended the all-girls Catholic preparatory school together for four years before committing to play for the Red and Blue. Their volleyball team has a long history of excellence and has won three California state titles. During their senior year, Fourticq and Douglas almost saw the program add a fourth, as the team lost in the state final. However, they were able to lead their team to a first-place finish at the Nike Tournament of Champions. 

Unsurprisingly, the program is consistently at the top of the list of schools that send volleyball players to compete in the Ivy League. Of their graduating class, Fourticq and Douglas are joined by teammates playing for schools across the country, including UCLA, San Diego, and Colgate. 

Marymount coach Cari Klein credits the recruiting position of the school to their brand of athletes. 

“I think programs might have a lot of academic kids who play volleyball, but it’s a different story when they’re used to winning. Taylor and Caroline are used to winning championships, winning tournaments. They don’t have much losing in their background," Klein said. "They expect to win."

And win they have. In the first two weeks of the season, the Red and Blue have racked up more wins than their season total from last year. Although the Quakers dropped their Ivy League opener to Princeton on Friday, the team started off its season with a six-game winning streak and is looking strong ahead of the first home game this Friday.

Marymount athletes pay a high price for the success they achieve. With no real offseason, they see a full cycle of training year-round, including summer workouts on the beach and the UCLA track. At the end of their summer season, the players have what they refer to as “hell week,” which consists of two to three daily practices. When the school year resumes, the team gets in a practice before and after school on some days, in addition to traveling to competitions.

After their time at such a rigorous program, it is clear that the duo has had a fairly smooth transition to collegiate volleyball. 

“Here, for instance, our weights are at 7:30 in the morning, and that literally feels like sleeping in. I still have my alarm on my phone for 4:57 in the morning called, ‘you got this,’ and I just thank God every morning that that’s never going to be set again,” Douglas said. 

While both have been playing volleyball for 10 years, at times the commitment to the sport at Marymount was far from easy. Regardless, they both looked back fondly on their senior night, an event dedicated to those who succeed through four years of the program. 

“At Marymount, volleyball senior night is a huge deal. Girls literally stay in the program for four years just to have a senior night. You get these cute little teddy bears that my mom actually makes, with your jersey, and a ton of stuff that describes you,” Douglas said. “That was definitely my highlight because going through that program is really tough for four years, it’s such an accomplishment and that night is just an accumulation of everything you’ve done and everything you’ve worked for.” 

Credit: Christian Walton

Freshman setter Taylor Fourticq (left)

Within such a demanding program, the athletes inevitably get very close. While in some sports the recruiting process is immensely stressful and can turn teammates against each other as they compete for a limited number of spots, Douglas and Fourticq had a very different experience. 

“Most people aren’t competing for the same spot. Me and Dougie, because we’re different positions, weren’t competing for a specific Penn spot, which made things much less stressful,” Fourticq said.

After both attended the same sophomore summer camp at Penn, the duo had official visits on the same weekend when the Red and Blue played Princeton. Although they spent the majority of the weekend together, the coaches would separate recruits at times to give them confidential offers to join the team.

“I remember we didn’t know how to ask each other if we’d gotten the offer. I remember sitting at White Dog [Cafe] and going to the bathroom together so we could be like, ‘sooooo?’’” Douglas said. 

Luckily for them, the two both got offers and committed within 48 hours of each other. 

The relationships built among the Marymount athletes are lasting. When the Red and Blue were playing at the UC Riverside Invitational last week, the Marymount team, coming back from a tournament in Las Vegas, realized that Douglas and Fourticq were in their vicinity. 

While on the bus, the players tried to no avail to convince the driver to turn around so they could meet up with their teammates. 

“It speaks volumes when the whole bus wants to turn and get a hug from [Fourticq and Douglas] because they know they’re in Riverside. The girls were dying to see them. They’re pretty important people to the program,” Klein said.

While they certainly embraced the athletic opportunity that Marymount had to offer, Fourticq and Douglas didn’t exactly miss out on celebrity sightings either. Kim Kardashian’s 20th reunion for Marymount fell during their time there.

“We found out that it was, in fact, Kim Kardashian’s 20th reunion one Friday night at Marymount. Our entire class of volleyball girls were all at Taylor’s house,” Douglas recalled. “We drove to Marymount that night, and I decided that I was going to be the guinea pig, that I was going to sacrifice my life. There was so much security."

Douglas entered the school under the guise of having lost her wallet. After wandering around for a while, she saw Kim Kardashian from a distance. The experience clearly left an impression on both of them. 

“She was literally posting photos from the seat that I sat in in math,” Fourticq said.

While Olivia Jade’s presence in the class above them was more of a sensitive subject, the two rattled off a list of celebrities and famous figures that they encountered during their time at Marymount. Now-famous singer Charlotte Lawrence played volleyball with their program. 

Having joined this group of notable alumni, Fourticq and Douglas are poised to contribute both on and off the court as members of this year’s new and improved Penn squad.

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